The key to good stock performance? Keep your workers happy

Happy workers
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Corporate culture apparently pays off, as stocks of companies with happy employees have been outperforming the market throughout the bull run.

Since 2009, companies named on Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" list collectively have topped the S&P 500 by more than 100 percent.

The list is meant to recognize leading companies based on overall employee job satisfaction, sentiment toward career opportunities, compensation, work-life balance and approval of company leadership.

Since the annual list has been issued in 2009, more than 150 U.S. companies have been recognized from a variety of industries including retail, technology, manufacturing, energy, media and entertainment. In order to qualify for consideration on the list, at least 75 employees of a company must submit reviews on a scale from 1 to 5. The average score this year was 3.3.

The economic link between employee satisfaction and the company's productivity, sales and reputation also exists by contrast. A portfolio of the 30 lowest-rated public companies on Glassdoor broadly underperforms the market by nearly 30 points.

"No matter how we looked at the numbers, Best Places to Work winners were also great financial investments," said Glassdoor's chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain.

Companies that have repeatedly shown up on Glassdoor's Top 10 over the past five years are: Bain & Company, Facebook, LinkedIn, Boston Consulting Group, Google-parent Alphabet, Adobe, Nestle Purina PetCare and In-N-Out Burger.

Bain has been in the top five since the list's inception in 2009 and has been the number one winner three times.

Clorox, Forrester Research, Keller Williams Realty, Microsoft and Lululemon all made the list for the first time this year.

The top three publicly traded companies on the list for 2017 with their stock price appreciation since Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 1 of this year are Google (392.4 percent), Adobe (349.7 percent) and Facebook (201.1 percent).

In comparison, the S&P 500 rose 153.59 percent during the same period.

According to Glassdoor, there were consequential labor market trends in 2016 that could reshape company culture in the New Year.

In today's hiring market, Glassdoor points out that employers are focused on creating attractive compensation packages. Health insurance, vacation and paid time off, and 401(k) plans are key for employee satisfaction.